Ask Erin: Do You Live a “Jumbled Life?”
article by Erin Sharplin Love
Life’s daily demands often overwhelm us before we know it, leaving a cluttered mess in their wake. Unfortunately, that means that you might find yourself without anything in the pantry or even forgetting important occasions. You might fall behind on bills and find yourself paying late fees more often than usual. The trick to avoiding the scenarios above is to learn how to spot the warning signs that everything is about to spin out of control.
Below are some of those warning signs along with my surefire tips on nipping them in the bud fast:
1. The dining table (and chairs) haven’t been used in months. Flat surfaces are usually the first place clutter accumulates. Pair that with the kitchen and dining area being the “hub” of most homes, and you have a recipe for disaster. Clear the space immediately and develop a new routine upon entering your home. It could be as simple as setting a basket on the table and tossing incoming mail and papers into it instead of piling them on the table. When the basket is too full to hold anything more, though, you must make it a priority to empty it immediately.
2. You can never find what you need in a timely manner. It should never take you longer than two minutes to locate an item in your home. If it does, you need to develop a new organization system for that particular item. For instance, can you locate your 2013 tax returns? How about a rubber band?
3. You always run late. Running late is never anything more than poor planning, so nip this problem in the bud by preplanning each day the night before. You should always go as far as packing any bags you will need, as well as planning outfits for the day.
4. You’ve never filed your taxes on time. Again, this is merely a result of poor planning. Make it a habit to file appropriate papers immediately upon receiving them, and you’ll never be late again! I keep an accordion file in my desk drawer, and all of my expenses are filed by month. At the end of the year, I go through the months and categorize each expense according to utilities, office supplies, etc.
5. You never seem to finish a project. If you often start and stop projects, ask yourself what the problem might be. For instance, are you ill-prepared and have to stop to purchase a needed item? Do you get easily distracted by the cluttered space in which you currently complete your projects? Once you hone in on what the problem actually is, you can create a system that will resolve it. After that, it’s up to you to develop the self-discipline it will take to stay with a project until the end. Once you’ve accomplished that, you will be addicted.
6. You have to run to the grocery store every day. Plan your meals a week in advance and develop your shopping list accordingly. Once you get in this habit, you won’t believe the amount of time you’ll gain and the amount of money you’ll save.
7. You feel overwhelmed all of the time. Many signs of clutter are tangible, but if the feelings of being overwhelmed and of having anxiety have crept into your life, they might be more damaging than that stack of papers on your dining room chair. Many times, these emotions are a subconscious sign that you feel you have lost control of your life. The best way to curb some of that anxiety is to take back control of your environment. The first step to feeling empowered again is to clean a drawer or clear a shelf. You’ll be amazed at how much weight will be lifted off your shoulders. The psychology of organization is a powerful thing.
All in all, getting organized requires a system and plan of attack. Get that plan in place, and you will be well on your way to going from cluttered mess to organized success!
Erin Sharplin Love, owner of Panache by Erin, is a Certified Fashion and Image Consultant, Professional Organizer, and Certified Wedding Coordinator whose specialties include outfit coordination and closet organization. Love has a knack for creating the perfect organized spaces that work with each client’s personality, for helping her fashion clients develop their own personal style and for helping her wedding clients create the wedding of their dreams within their budget and without the stress. Panache by Erin offers the following services – outfit coordination, personal shopping, personal color analysis, home/office organization and wedding/event coordination. To learn more please go to www.panachebyerin.com.